Not easy for Harvard grads to say they went there

On Thursday afternoon, Jeanne Mack stood in her cap and gown, just outside the gates to Harvard Yard, a fresh member of the real world. She had just graduated from college. Which one? Well, she says, if a stranger were to ask her, she might stumble around for a bit, take a hard swallow, reports.

“I’ll say near Boston,’’ Mack said, the mortar board still tilted on her brow. “I try to be as general as possible and move on.’’

She does not like dropping the H-bomb, which is how Harvard students and alumni describe the moment they use the name of their university. It’s a loaded word. And everyone who has ever been a student at Harvard University – the school minted about 7,000 new graduates this month – is acutely aware of the perils of using it. They have been through it many times, seen the bomb explode in different ways. Each has an approach, goals for how it should go off. When confronted with questions about their education, many elect simply for a kind of dodge, the most famous being the Boston method. “I went to school in Boston.’’ Sometimes it’s “near Boston.’’ Or perhaps even “Cambridge.’’ That almost never works…

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